AB Electronic Structural Analysis of Clip Assembly

Company Profile

Formerly Colvern Ltd established in Romford, Essex in 1927, the company name changed to AB Electronic in 1997 to align with other TT electronics sensor companies as a full service provider to the Automotive Industry. AB Electronic originally specialised in the design and manufacture of general purpose and precision potentiometers.

Sales of automotive sensors to the European market commenced in 1984, the first applications being throttle position sensors for electronic fuel injection systems.

AB and other TT electronics products are fitted to over 50 per cent of vehicles manufactured in Europe, and an increasing percentage of those manufactured in North America.


AB Electronic, design and manufacture many components for the automotive industry. One such component is a plastic connector clip for electrical wires. AB Electronic produced a new design which needed to be tested for optimum assembly load prior to manufacture of a hard metal die for production. One of the objectives for the design was to ensure that the assembly load was in the region of 50N. If the load to pull out the clip was found to be too low this could release too easily and create a hazard, but if the clip was too difficult to pull assemble/separate it would become impractical.


IDAC were required by AB Electronic to carry out an FE analysis on a new design of a clip to be used in the automotive industry. The reliability of the new design and the flexibility of the components within the clip assembly were to be determined. In order to check the reliability of the clip the assembly load had to be established. An assembly load in the region of 50N was required for optimum usability.

The 3D geometry was provided by AB Electronic in Autodesk Inventor format. The model was imported into ANSYS Workbench and meshed using 3D tetrahedral elements. The graphics above show both the geometric model and the meshed model. Plastic material properties were defined in ANSYS for the clip. Fully bonded contact elements were generated between all parts in contact, automatically, within ANSYS Workbench. Areas which were then able to separate were selected and the contact status was modified to frictional contact.

Results showed that the assembly load was in the region of 43N. This satisfied the design criteria.The graph to the right shows the change in the assembly load of the clip.

The graphics to the above left shows an equivalent stress contour plot of the top part of the clip. The area of high stress is in the bend region of the top part of the clip was as expected and was found to be within an acceptable range.

Design Benefit

IDAC carried out analyses on a new design of a clip to be used in the automotive industry.

The results confirmed that the assembly load and the stress distribution were within the design limits. This meant that any additional expense that would have been incurred by modifying the design was averted.